UK price (as reviewed): £64.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): MSRP $69.99 (exc. tax)
Rather than having features or hardware that's specifically high-end and premium-orientated like the recent Vituoso headset, Corsair's HS60 Pro Surround appears to be a minor tweak of the existing HS60 Surround. Specifically, Corsair states the new set offers better 50mm audio drivers, an improved microphone, and additional memory foam on the earcups to increase comfort. The two offer the same 20Hz - 20KHz frequency response, 111dB headphone sensitivity, and 40dB microphone sensitivity. Only the microphone impedance appears to have changed from 2.2K ohms to 2K ohms.
However, we haven't found older HS-series headsets uncomfortable - the HS50 Stereo, for example, was more than adequate here, though that was reviewed by Matt rather than myself. That said, even with this new model, I found that the slightly overbearing clamping force on your ears that Matt mentioned before remains, so perhaps this should have been a focus rather than additional cushioning. It's not uncomfortable, though, and the effect did seem to reduce after an hour or so as the headset adjusted to my head, which is larger than average. The smaller-headed shouldn't have any issues.
The padding on the headband is reasonable, and while the faux leather isn't quite a plush-feeling as that on the Virtuoso, the two offered similar levels of comfort in this region, with the HS60 Pro Surround's padding being a little softer too. However, the opposite is true for the ear cups - the Virtuoso definitely has the edge here, managing to seal in your ears with softer earcup cushions, though it is of course a significantly more expensive headset. The benefit of the faux leather used, though, is that there's far less noise seeping in or out of the earcups. This was very evident when donning an old Void Pro RGB Wireless headset. Overall, I'd describe the comfort as decent but not quite as sigh-inducing as I've had with other headsets.
There's a good deal of adjustment in the headband too, which had a couple of notches spare despite my above average head size. Sadly, unlike the Void and Virtuoso, there's no full-swivel with the earcups to allow for easier stowage. However, there is a small amount on offer thanks to a small joint at the edge of the headband to allow the earcups to move around and sit level on your head.
The volume control is far easier to find and use than that on the Virtuoso thanks to it protruding more and having a rougher edge, and the microphone mute button is just as easily identifiable. The 3.5mm audio jack cable is not detachable, though, so you're stuck with the length and material braiding.
The microphone does detach, though, which may or may not suit you depending on your own usage preferences. It's fully adjustable, though, and the boom stays fixed where you place it and comes with a foam end cap for the microphone too. Sound quality was reasonable, although I've definitely heard better, especially at higher volumes where speech would sound a little distorted. There was also noticeable background noise despite using the microphone foam end cap, but not to an extent that would annoy your fellow gamers.
The 3.5mm jack on the end of the 2m braided cable offers a tri-pole jack, so it's compatible with most devices out there, but Corsair also includes a USB sound adaptor that offers virtual 7.1 surround sound through the stereo drivers - this can be toggled on and off in Corsair's iCUE software. As with other headsets, music is best heard in stereo where it's cleaner and punchier, but the surround effect is definitely palpable in suitably mixed games, and our 7.1 audio test revealed clear distinctions between front, mid, and rear channels. You wouldn't buy it specifically for this feature, then, but it works well enough if you just want to mix it up in games or films.
Now for the all-important bit - sound quality. The HS60 Pro Surround was maybe a tad below where I'd expect it to be for a near-£70 price tag, with the bass being overbearing out of the box at the expense of the mid-range, which sounded quite flat and muddled.
Tweaking these in the equalizer helped to bring the audio, particularly in music with vocals and instruments, up to more balanced levels and closer to the quality we'd expect at this price, although the bass definitely had more punch than depth, with a fair amount more detail being evident from better headsets. All in all, it's a solid experience that definitely lends itself to your typical FPS environment of explosions and bullets pinging around you as well as bass-heavy music. The highs were clear and punchy too, but tweaking the equalizer definitely improves things, evening out the bass to allow the mid-range to breathe.
With a retail price around £15 less than the HyperX Cloud II, the HS60 Pro Surround is just about on the money given its performance and comfort. The more I used it, the more I liked it, and once I'd tweaked the equalizer, it proved quite flexible. Thankfully, Corsair's iCUE software also allows you to apply presets to load with specific programs, so if you find one preset completely at odds with your Spotify playlist or current favourite game, then you can have a different equalizer setting load for each in turn.
I don't have any major issues with comfort - using it for three-hour stints between coffee breaks didn't leave me rubbing aches out of my head - and you get USB or 3.5mm minijack connectivity along with 7.1 virtual surround sound when needed, and the microphone offered reasonable quality too. However, no one area blew my socks off, so while I'm happy to give it our Recommended award, it's not deserving of anything higher.
July 1 2020 | 17:34